The New York Islanders will have a welcomed face back in the line-up tonight as Kyle Okposo is set to return as they take on the New York Rangers for the last time at Nassau Coliseum tonight.
This will also be the last time that these two teams will meet, barring a match-up in this year’s playoffs.
Okposo has missed the last six weeks of the season due a detached retina that required immediate surgery. According to Newsday, the surgery was so serious that he was unsure of whether or not his vision would have officially been restored to his eye.
The Jack Adams award is given out each year to the coach who is judged to have contributed the most to his team’s success in the National Hockey League. If you were to ask Isles fans about Jack Capuano’s name being thrown into the list of candidates for the award a year ago, you would have received plenty of laughs.
Despite being the next winningest coach for the Islanders after Al Arbour, Capuano had drawn the ire of the Islanders faithful for his inability to provide Nassau Coliseum ice with a winning hockey team after making the playoffs the year before.
But considering the success of the Islanders this season, it would be inconsiderate of the league to not take a look at Capuano when deciding who should be nominated for the award.
The New York Islanders played host to their former coach Peter Laviolette and the Nashville Predators, who are currently sporting the best record in the National Hockey League. But the Islanders would prevail as the best team on the ice, battling their way to a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum.
The Islanders have already surpassed the midway point of the season, embarking on the second half of a year that is marking the end of an era for this organization.
There are currently 40 games remaining of the regular season, leaving only 24 games left to be played at the only building they have called home for the past 43 years; Nassau Coliseum.
With the off-season moves that GM Garth Snow made this summer, many predicted that the last year at the Madhouse on the Meadowbrook would be a memorable one. But it’s doubtful that many Islanders fans and hockey pundits expected the Islanders to be sitting atop the Metropolitan Division as they prepare to face their biggest rivals tonight, the New York Rangers.
Entering Nassau Coliseum tonight was very different than every other season; there was a vibe circulating around the concourse that was unlike the previous years. Tonight’s home opener marked the beginning of the end for the 43-year old Nassau Coliseum, the only building that the Islanders have ever called home.
The game opened up with a raucous crowd welcoming back the orange and blue to the ice. Unlike previous years, the Islanders came out all at once and stood around the logo at center ice as opposed to one by one, signifying that this year is all about the team and what it has meant to Long Island since 1972.
The New York Islanders have been sold by current owner Charles Wang to an investment group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner, Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin. Ledecky and Malkin have only purchased a minority stake of the team, leaving Wang in charge for the next two years.
Once the next two years pass, Ledecky and Malkin will become the full owners of the New York Islanders (Photo credit: Official New York Islanders/Flickr).
For years, fans had been clamoring for Charles Wang, the owner of the New York Islanders, to find a new home for the only professional sports team that exists on Long Island (Photo credit: michele cat/Flickr).
The Lighthouse Project came and went. The August 1st referendum came and failed. There were the ridiculous rumors of Kansas City, Ontario, and other places that never came to fruition. But one thing was certain: the New York Islanders were not going to be playing in the current Nassau Coliseum a day past the 2015 lease expiration date.